Internet Activists Are Faxing Congress Like It’s 1979

By Amanda Warren

As Ted Bauman says in his report about CISA, “Every day reveals a new abuse of digital privacy, each more insane than the last.”

In this past month alone, Americans have witnessed revelations of way more government wiretapping than was ever previously revealed, the FBI throwing a fit unless they can dip into your encryption-free data, and the Senate voting on requiring social media to report suspicious activity to the feds. Almost as an afterthought, it was revealed in mainstream news that any of your open emails and social media messages older than six months could be read any time by federal agencies – like the IRS. Can you believe that?

Why aren’t more Americans mad? Some activists have had enough and are now making poetic and principled stands using the lowly fax machine….

The Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act of 2015 (CISA) sponsored by Dianne Feinstein is mainly about sharing your information to government agencies while the private companies who may help do it get to be exempt from FOIA. Some of the companies on board with the bill, according to The Guardian, are “Facebook, Google, AT&T, Comcast, Bank of America and Blue Cross Blue Shield. ” And it’s a bill that’s likely to be considered this week – the last days before Congress takes a recess.

The Guardian reports:

Internet activists determined to halt what they see as another ill-conceived Washington cybersecurity bill are hitting Congress where it hurts: right in the fax machine.

Protesters have programmed eight separate phone lines to convert emails sent from a handy box at (as well as tweets with the hashtag #faxbigbrother) to individual faxes and send them to all 100 members of the US Senate.

Evan Greer of activist group Fight for the Future – the group that is leading the fax charge – humorously notes that Congress must be stuck in the ’80s and it’s time to get their attention since they seem to be ignoring the deluge of emails already sent about this issue.

It turns out that Congress doesn’t want to be held to those standards either and may have found ways to circumvent prying eyes….

A former Senate staffer told The Guardian about why Congress hugs their fax machines a little tighter these days:

One thing that makes faxes – and pagers, for that matter – still good tech is that they are analog and difficult to search. Members love them, especially to transmit data for things like campaign financing records.

No one wants to read [the transmissions]…Readers get lost in them, but there is still a record of info being sent and received.

See how beneficial that is? For them, not you. Beneficial for the exempt corporations reporting your activity to the government – not you. So it makes sense to grab their attention on the devices they use to circumvent the laws they might recklessly pass to squeeze you.

Some, especially among those in the cybersecurity industry, see the loss of privacy as a sort of American business cost in a future of anticipated cybercrime. Others see the constant surveillance and potential criminalization as a ridiculous price to pay under the guise of security gaffes laid open by hackers.

Are you interested in faxing your Senators? It so easy – the numbers are just a couple of clicks away.

Click here at Contacting the Congress, then simply click on your state – the fax numbers are right there. Go to to have your emails sent through their fax lines.

The photo “Abandoned Fax Machine” is copyrighted by Abhisek Sarda on Flickr under Creative Commons

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3 Comments on "Internet Activists Are Faxing Congress Like It’s 1979"

  1. They’ll ignore the faxes as well.. They don’t give a damn about their constituents, except when it’s election time, and then just barely.

  2. This internet sharing is like a lifelong drug addict sharing his needle with anyone who will ‘plug in and play’.

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